Tuesday, 26 May 2020 18:12

BREAKING: Davis chooses Wolfpack over other D-I offers

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ROCKINGHAM — A third member of Richmond Senior High School’s rising senior class has committed to play football at an Atlantic Coast Conference university.

Offensive lineman Jaleel Davis took to Twitter on Tuesday to announce his verbal commitment to North Carolina State University. He’ll join fellow senior wide receiver Jakolbe Baldwin, who also committed to the Wolfpack in March.

Quarterback Caleb Hood is the third Raider player joining the ACC ranks, as he announced his commitment to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in January.

“I just wanna thank God for allowing me to continue my academic and football career at the next level,” Davis tweeted. “Thank you to all the coaches who recruited me throughout this process. 

“I’d like to thank my family and my coaches for always supporting me and always pushing me to be the best version of me,” he continued. “With that being said, I will be continuing my academic and athletic career at N.C. State University. #GoPack.”

The 6-6, 300-pound left tackle has been touted as one of the top offensive linemen in the state in the class of 2021 and was fielding several Division I offers over the last couple of seasons, including the University of South Carolina and the University of Tennessee. 

N.C. State offered Davis last summer following a camp he attended, and he said his top two choices were between the Wolfpack and the Volunteers.

“It was a really fun recruiting process, and I liked all the visits I went on,” Davis shared. “But now I’ve found a home.

“My decision was between N.C. State and Tennessee,” he added. “What stood out the most was my relationship with State. They have been great to me and have been talking to me consistently to come and join the family.”

Keeping in contact with him were Todd Goebbel and John Garrison, the latter of whom is N.C. State’s offensive line coach. Another factor in Davis’ decision was Baldwin, a teammate he’s shared the field with the last couple of seasons. 

“Jakolbe told me to join the family with him. Every day we talked about joining the Pack and now it’s happening,” Davis said.

In 2019, a season that saw the Raiders go 13-1 and reach the Western Regional Championship, Davis was an integral part of an offensive line that helped create an explosive offense.

Helping protect Hood’s blind side along with now-graduated left guard Brian Bowden, Davis provided a strong physical presence and helped the Raiders collect 5,444 yards of total offense and 74 touchdowns. 

He was selected to his second straight All-Sandhills Athletic Conference team following the team’s conference championship-winning season, and was named a member of Richmond’s football leadership council for the upcoming season.

“I’m proud of him and I’m glad he had the opportunity to make a decision between several different schools so he could know which one was the right fit for him and his family,” said Kemp McSween, Richmond’s OL coach.

“The biggest things that stand out to me are that early on we could see his natural ability to pass protect, he’s developed a knowledge of his position and what defenses like to do against our offense and he’s matured,” McSween added. “(Jaleel) has understood the amount of work he’s had to put in to be successful.”

With spring and summer football still on hold, Davis has continued to workout from home to stay in shape. He’s running every day and working on different offensive line drills, adding that he thinks his best attributes are his handwork and his footwork.

Davis tipped his helmet to McSween and his fellow offensive linemen, noting they have all “helped develop me as a player and a young man.”

He closed by saying he’s “excited” for his upcoming senior season and feels relieved that he can focus on Raider football without the added stress of the recruitment process. Davis plans on majoring in business at N.C. State.

Kyle Pillar

Sports Editor. IUP communications media and journalism alumni. English teacher, Ninth Grade Academy.

Submit local sports scores to: kpillar@richmondobserver.com

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